76ers vs. Cavaliers NBA Pick
The Philadelphia 76ers visit the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night. The 76ers are a completely different team on the road. They have won 13 straight home games but they are on a six-game losing streak away from the Wells Fargo Center. Does this make the Cavaliers the right NBA pick for this game?
Philadelphia 76ers (36-22) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (16-41)
Wednesday, February 26 at 7:00 PM ET, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse
76ers Lose Ben Simmons Indefinitely
Ben Simmons left the 119-98 loss against the Bucks on Saturday with a lower back injury and there’s no idea about how long he will be out. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski: “Ben Simmons will be re-evaluated in 2 weeks for nerve impingement in lower back, but there’s little expectation that he’d be ready to return to lineup that soon, sources tell ESPN. Doctors are hopeful treatment can drive improvement, but Sixers are preparing to play without him.”
76ers head coach Brett Brown addressed the issue on Monday: “With 25 games left, we’ve taken a hit with Ben. I’m not spinning it: It’s an opportunity for us to learn. We’re going to learn something. We’re going to find something.”
Simmons only played five minutes in Saturday’s game against the Bucks. He previously missed Thursday’s 112-104 overtime win against the Nets and also didn’t play last Monday against the Hawks. He may have injured his back in the NBA All-Star game but it has not been confirmed or denied.
The 23-year-old is averaging 16.7 points, 8.2 assists and 7.8 rebounds in 35.8 minutes over 54 games. He is shooting 58.5 percent from the field but he still refuses to shoot 3-pointers. Simmons attempted just 11 3-point shots in 2017-18 and six in 2018-19. This season he is 2-for-6 from distance.
This did not stop him from becoming a two-time NBA All-Star but it is certainly holding him back from helping the 76ers be legitimate contenders this season.
Brett Brown tries to downplay Simmons’ importance by saying that this is an opportunity for the 76ers to learn something but they are in trouble without Simmons. Raul Neto (minus-2.4 Offensive Box Plus/Minus) replaced Simmons in the starting lineup against the Nets but he is evidently not a long-term solution at point guard as he averages just 1.5 assists per game this season. Neto scored just six points and dished out four assists in 28 minutes against the Nets.
Shake Milton (minus-2.1 Offensive Box Plus/Minus) shined against the Bucks with 17 points and two assists in 22 minutes off the bench and that gave him the chance to start at point guard against the Hawks. He had seven points and six assists in that game. Milton averages just 1.7 assists per game and he is not the answer either.
Cavs Come From Behind Against Heat
The Cavaliers erased a 22-point deficit and beat the Heat 125-119 in overtime. Kevin Porter Jr. scored a career-high 30 points with eight rebounds and five assists and Kevin Love had 17 points and 14 rebounds. Five other Cavaliers players scored in double figures and that kind of balance on offense can complicate things for a 76ers team without Ben Simmons. Porter played 41 minutes off the bench and was 9-for-18 from the field and 4-for-7 from beyond the arc.
“We’re going to call on different people,” Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “On a given night it could be your night.
The Cavs are just 16-41 and they have nothing to play for, which makes them a very dangerous team, as seen against the Heat. This team can play the role of spoilers moving forward and this game can be very competitive.
Betting Trends and Prediction
The Philadelphia 76ers are:
2-5 ATS in their last seven games following a straight up win
3-8 ATS in their last 11 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game
6-20-2 ATS in their last 28 road games
2-8 ATS in their last 10 games as a road favorite
1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a losing home record
The Cleveland Cavaliers are:
7-3 ATS in their last 10 Wednesday games
I can’t see Neto and Milton slowing down Collin Sexton, Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr. Joel Embiid is coming off a career night but the Cavs can throw Andre Drummond, Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love at him and neutralize him.